Throughout history, sculptors have made stunning shapes out of difficult to work with materials. From bronze, wood, and marble, to many others, some of our best art came from their ability to manipulate the materials expertly.
Whether they’re creating busts of famous royals, scenes of religious experiences, or merely sculpting an inspiration of their own, there are several famous sculptures that the art world just can’t forget. We look through some of the top lists to determine which are the most iconic sculptures in art history. And here’s what we found out.
Bust of Nefertiti, Thutmose
Completed in 1345 BC, this famous bust of Nefertiti was painted in limestone and discovered in the workshop of the artist. It has remained one of the most famous sculptures throughout history for its stunning representation of feminine beauty, perfect lines, and expertly painted additions.
You look at this today and wouldn’t believe that it’s as old as it is.
Nike of Samothrace
One of the older sculptures on our list, this Hellenistic Greek sculpture depicts Nike, the Greek Goddess of victory. It’s one of the few that is a greek original (and not a copy done by the Romans) and captures the essence of the Goddess herself through movement and composure.
You can see this beautiful sculpture on display at the Lourve in Paris, France.
Venus De Milo
Also known as the Aphrodite of Milos, this sculpture depicts the Greek Goddess of Love. The imposing structure stands at 6 feet 8 inches tall and is partially famous for what it’s missing. Her arms.
Not surprisingly, many sculptures begin to lose limbs and pieces over time, especially those that were done in 130 B.C. like Venus. Also on display at the Lourve in Paris, this is one of the most famous sculptures in the museum.
A much younger version of David compared with Michelangelo’s sculpture, Donatello’s version seems more reflective and thoughtful than the one that came 100 years later.
It was a big deal at the time, given its lack of clothing, which many in the art world and beyond found disturbing. However, it was the first unsupported bronze cast sculpture as well as the first male nude since iniquity, which put Donatello on the map.
Located in China, this is more than one simple sculpture, which is what makes it so incredible. There are over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 600+ horses counted among the figures of Qin Shi Huang’s army.
A farmer that was digging for a well discover these massive statues in 1974, and they have since become part of a traveling exhibition that has gone all over the world. They’ve also seen their share of copy cats in the form of 3D sidewalk art and other hilarious inventions.
Sculptures will always be some of the most popular pieces of art in our history books. Many of them are symbols of what was happening in world history at the time, which is part of what makes them so valuable.
These are just a few of the ones that tend to top the best-of lists we’ve read. Which sculptures would you include on your list?